Elizabeth Furse – Portland, Oregon

Elizabeth FurseFURSE, Elizabeth, a Representative from Oregon; born in Nairobi, Kenya, October 13, 1936 and was the first person born in Africa to win election to the U.S. Congress.

She got a B.A., Evergreen State College, 1974; director, Oregon Legal Services restoration program for Native American tribes, 1980-1986; co-founded the Oregon Peace Institute in 1985;co-owner and co-operator of a vineyard; elected as a Democrat to the One Hundred Third and to the two succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1993-January 3, 1999); was not a candidate for re-election in 1998 to the One Hundred Sixth Congress. (Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress)

Elizabeth is well known in the Pacific Northwest as an educator, public servant, and lifelong activist for Native American rights, peace, social justice, and the environment. Elizabeth co-founded the National Coalition to Support Indian Treaties and later directed the tribal restoration project for the Native American Program of Oregon Legal Services. She eventually coordinated the successful passage of legislation to restore the federal status of the Coquille Indian Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, the Klamath Tribes, and the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw. In 1980 she co-founded the Oregon Peace Institute, promoting education and resources for peace and nonviolent conflict resolution.

In 1992 she was elected to the U.S. Congress representing Oregon’s First Congressional District where she served 3 terms before retiring in 2000. Elizabeth co-founded Columbia RiverKeeper and also co-founded and directed the Institute for Tribal Government at Portland State University. She currently serves on the Warm Springs Enterprise & Casino Board and the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Tamastslikt Cultural Institute Board. She is co-owner of Helvetia Vineyard and Winery, located in Washington County. (Source: WaterWatch)

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